A Steampunk Carol…

25 Nov

Today we welcome Steven R. Southard to the GSP Christmas Promo.

In his youth, Steven R. Southard fell under Jules Verne’s spell and grew up with a love for technology and well-written fiction.  Now he’s busy writing his own historical technology stories for a series called What Man Hath Wrought.  Visit his page at the Gypsy Shadow Publishing website and his own site at http://www.stevenrsouthard.com to better understand his intriguing characters and their amazing machines.”

His book that we are highlighting today is A Steampunk Carol.

“That stuffy Victorian inventor, Stanton Wardgrave, is back again, eight years after inventing holograms and meeting the American Josephine Boulton. Married now, with a son and daughter, he’s dealing with rather too much balderdash and poppycock this Christmas Eve. Conversing with his dead father? Expecting three visitors? It all seems so very Dickensian. But he knows he’s not at all like that Ebenezer Scrooge bloke…is he? What, this story asks, would Christmas be without a bit of steampunk in it?”


Stave 1

   To begin with, Stanton Wardgrave was dead. At least, Stanton Wardgrave III was dead, a fact known for certain by Stanton Wardgrave IV ever since 1867. This established truth rendered it all the more disconcerting for the younger Stanton to see the deceased man standing before him now.
   “Father? No! It can’t be you!” Stanton gaped in terror and astonishment. The background behind the elder Wardgrave was ephemeral and indistinct, but Stanton was too shocked to notice.
   “Why not? Don’t you believe your own eyes? Your own ears?” The deep, ringing voice could not be mistaken.
   “I’m asleep. I must be having a dream,” Stanton pinched himself. “That’s the very thing. I drank wine after dinner, and I’m dreaming about you now. Yes! There’s more of wine cask than pine casket about you.”
   “Clever, but in this case precisely untrue.” The elder Wardgrave didn’t smile.
   Stanton took a closer look at his father. This must be a dream, or nightmare, and his brain must be quite well pickled by drink not to have noticed it earlier. “Father, you’re shot with holes!”
   Two sections of the elder man were missing, large circular swaths cut from his body. The left side of his chest and the right upper quadrant of his head were gone, with the cloudy gray background visible in the gaps. Yet the man stood without apparent discomfort.
   “Oh, that,” the partial man looked down at his breast. “I removed those parts of me while I lived. I daresay I didn’t even notice them gone at the time, let alone miss them. I certainly miss them now, wandering the afterlife with the ethereal wind gusting through my ribs and chilling my skull.”
   At that moment, a breeze picked up and the older man winced. Stanton even heard a whistling noise as air sped and swirled through the crevices.
   “But that’s beside the bloody point,” the father aimed a finger at Stanton. “The same sections of you are missing too, son.”
   Stanton looked down in alarm and felt his chest and head for wholeness and continuity. Everything seemed connected and in place.
   “You don’t see it now, of course,” the elder man chuckled. “You’re still alive, more or less. But I’m here to advise you this state of affairs is unacceptable. Something must be done. As to that, you will be visited by three beings this night.”
   “Three…beings?” Stanton snorted. “You mean ghosts, father?”
   “Not ghosts, confound it all! Entities. Personages. Call them what you will. You will receive three visitors.”
   “Three visitors,” Stanton repeated. “This all sounds rather familiar. It’s like the famous yarn written by that Dickens bloke. What the devil was it called?”
   “Charles Dickens, the writer chap? Oh, he’s now with us, the dead, of course. But he wrote fiction, son, and you’re living a real life. Each has—or should have—elements of the other, but surely you know the difference.”
   “See here, Father. You’ve cast me in the most unsavory role of that Ebenezer Scrooge bloke. But I’m no miser, as you know full well. I give sizeable sums to charity.”
   “This isn’t about money.”
   “What, then?”
   “The visitors will make it all clear, my son.” The senior Wardgrave began to fade from view, becoming dimmer with each passing second.
   “Listen to the visitors, son. Listen.”
   He vanished.

And links for the book:




4 Responses to “A Steampunk Carol…”

  1. Sheila Deeth November 26, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    Sounds intriguing and I love the cover!!!! Love the excerpt too.

  2. Dawn Colclasure November 26, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    I’m not much of a reader of steampunk fiction but I think it’s very cool that Mr. Southard created such a twist to the classic Christmas story. Love the cover, too.

  3. Sheila Deeth December 16, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Oh, that’s very cool. I love the slow reveal of those holes.


  1. A Steampunk Carol… « Chalaedra's Weblog - November 25, 2012

    […] A Steampunk Carol…. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: